Monday, October 26, 2009

The Instructor

The Instructor was loud and very dramatic. His preferred mode of communication was yelling. He yelled when he was mad, he yelled when he was happy, he yelled instructions. A lot of arm movement accentuated his yelling. Most times it was quite comical. His mode of communicating with horses was completely the opposite.

The Instructor taught, but was also a business man who owned the facility. Just about everything had some sort of service charge, if you were a boarder. Except his coffee! He made delicious coffee and would generously offer it to everyone after lesson.

The Instructor had a good reputation with horses. He understood them and they understood him. I admired the ease in which he was able to communicate what he wanted from them. I discovered that 95% of the boarders owned horses that he had purchased for them. Not one person I spoke to were actually involved with the purchase of their horse; The Instructor did everything. I couldn’t believe it. They had complete faith in The Instructor to make the right decision for them and believed that having him find their horse and handle the purchase took the stress out of it.

My lessons were progressing (slowly), but I was committed and signed up for winter lessons. The Instructor was getting frustrated with me. My body weight and shape were always mentioned and I was told regularly that I should be more committed to getting into shape. These comments bothered me. I kept reminding him that I was NEVER going to jump and I was NEVER going to compete; I just wanted to stay on the horse, be safe, and go out on the trail. I didn't need to be tall, slim and blonde! He never quite got that. A friend, who knew him, explained that he was a trainer not a teacher. That explained a lot. He was really good with riders that were already trained and needed to get ready for a competition, but not so good with teaching the basics.

Despite some of the body image negativity, I had a good time and enjoyed my lessons. I was captivated by his stories about the horses he had ridden and the horse people in the area. It was obvious that horses were his life and he was a gentle and caring owner. He romanticized the bond with a horse. I wanted some of that magic, that feeling of delight and connection.

What was I thinking…..?

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